image/svg+xml139XI/2/2020INTERDISCIPLINARIA ARCHAEOLOGICANATURAL SCIENCES IN ARCHAEOLOGYhomepage: http://www.iansa.euGeophysical Investigations of the Bronze Age Andreevskoye Settlement in the Southern Trans-Urals (Russia)Vladislav Noskevicha*, Natalia FedorovaaaInstitute of Geophysics Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Amundsen Street 100, 620049 Yekaterinburg, Russia1. IntroductionAt the end of the 20thcentury, vast settlements attributed to the Bronze Age (21st–18thcentury BC) were discovered in Russia, in the steppe zone of the Southern Urals (Figure 1) (Gening et al., 1992). The earliest stage of the investigation was related to the decoding of aerial photos that allowed the specialists to discover and identify the majority of Sintashta – Arkaim – type settlements (Zdanovich and Batanina, 2007). The Sintashta settlements are typical by enclosed systems of fortifcation in contrast to other steppe Eurasian Bronze Age sites. The internal space has a very structured organization and it is almost entirely occupied by standard buildings that are organized into regular blocks. The total area of individual settlements ranges from 0.8 to 3.5 ha. The architecture of the settlements is almost completely destroyed; the earth walls of fortifcations, ditches and housing depressions have been ploughed up. In modern times, the leading role played by geophysical research has directed investigations to the detection of the inner structure of sites.Geophysical methods have been applied in archaeology for more than half a century. Resistivity methods and magnetometry have been applied in Europe since the 1950s (Atkinson, 1952; Aitken, 1974). Electromagnetic profling and GPR surveying were introduced into archaeology in the 1980s–1990s (Dalan, 1991; Dabas et al., 2000). Signifcant advances in the study of various archaeological sites have been achieved using geophysical methods (Gafney et al., 2002, Epov et al., 2016). Magnetic gradient surveys (Fassbinder, 2019), electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) (Tsokas et al., 2008) and ground penetrating radar (GPR) (Conyers, 2016) constitute the most informative geophysical methods for conducting archaeological research. In Siberia, the magnetic gradient method developed by German geophysicists has been successfully applied at the Chicha settlement (Late Bronze Age) which covers an area 400×200 m (8 ha) (Becker and Fassbinder, 1999; Molodin et al., 2002).Geophysical studies of several Sintashta fortifed settlements (Arkaim, Kamennyi Ambar, Konoplynka, Volume XI ● Issue 2/2020 ● Pages 139–147*Corresponding author. E-mail: ubistu@gmail.comARTICLE INFOArticle history:Received: 23rdMarch 2020Accepted: 19thOctober 2020DOI: words:magnetic surveyground penetrating radarBronze Agearchaeological siteSouth UralsRussiaABSTRACTThe settlements and cemeteries of the Sintashta – type (21st–18thcentury BC) are concentrated in the southern Trans-Urals steppe. The earliest stage of investigations was related to the decoding of aerial photos that allowed specialists to discover and identify the majority of the settlements. This report presents the results of a geophysical investigation at the Andreevskoye settlement, where we conducted micro-magnetic and ground penetrating radar (GPR) surveys. Magnetic studies have provided new information on the structure of the fortifcations and the number and location of houses in the settlements during their occupancy, as well as on the many wells discovered inside the houses. Drawing on our data, a new plan of the settlement was produced, more accurate than the one prepared solely from interpretations of aerial photographs. The settlement consists of multiple layers and is characterized by a complex confguration formed from three rectangular systems of defensive structures. We obtained GPR deep sections along three profles, indicating the ditches and dwellings of the ancient settlement under sediments and the ruins of walls. Based on these data, we conclude that the depth from the modern surface of the earth to the occupation layer in the dwellings of the ancient settlement is approximately 50–70 cm. Our results provide archaeologists with reliable data that are necessary for the selection of excavation sites.
image/svg+xmlIANSA 2020 ● XI/2 ● 139–147Vladislav Noskevich, Natalia Fedorova: Geophysical Investigations of the Bronze Age Andreevskoye Settlement in the Southern Trans-Urals (Russia)140Ustye, Sarym-Sakly, Ulak, etc.) have been carried out (Tibelius, 1995; Merrony et al., 2009; Noskevich et al., 2012; Patzelt, 2013; Hanks et al, 2013; Fedorova et al., 2014; Bakhshiev et al., 2018). Geomagnetic prospection has been efective in the investigation of fortifcations and interiors due to a great variety of soils with magnetic properties higher than the surrounding ground. Magnetic anomalies reveal the exact position of outer defensive walls and ditches, the layout of buildings inside the settlements, and the existence of wells, household pits and ovens. The maps of magnetic anomalies indicate sites for further, more-detailed, study using archaeological and other geophysical methods, thus signifcantly reducing the risk of conducting blind excavations. GPR surveying allows the structure of fortifcations to be determined, as well as the depth of ditches and wells to be inferred (Noskevich et al., 2012; Epimakhov et al., 2016).As a part of the continuing geophysical research on the Sintashta-Arkaim settlements, this article presents our latest results regarding the Andreevskoye site. The micro-magnetic gradient survey covered the whole territory of the settlement (200×240 m), while the GPR survey was conducted in several sections of the fortifcations.2. Brief description of the Andreevskoye settlementThe ruins of the Andreevskoye fortifed settlement attributed to the Bronze Age are located on the left bank of the Sintashta River (7.7 km southeast of the Andreevsky village, Chelyabinsk region, Russia). The modern riverbed, together with the ancient one, form a peninsula (Figure 2a).The site is located on the very edge of the foodplain terrace, on the bank of the ancient riverbed of the Sintashta River. No full-scale archaeological excavations have been carried out at this site. Small exploration works had been carried out in two pits in the northern and southern parts of the settlement (Tairov et al., 1995). Fragments of ceramics presumably belonging to the Sintashta culture (21st–18thcenturies BC) were found. In similar settlements (Kamennyi Ambar, Bersaut, etc.), radiocarbon analysis confrms these dates (Epimakhov, Krause, 2013). The total dating interval for Sintashta constitutes the period 2010–1770 BC. (Molodin et al., 2014).The ruins of the defensive ditches and walls outline the borders of the site. The settlement has multiple layers and is characterised by a complex confguration, which is formed by three rectangular systems of defensive structures